Pacific National has told 200 workers around the country - including 50 workers on the Hunter - that their jobs will be abolished and replaced by new positions in North Sydney on individual contracts.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said the company’s rationale for sacking the workers made no sense, and it was clear the exercise was motivated by a desire to de-unionise a section of the Pacific National workforce.
“Pacific National says it wants to create efficiencies – but then sends work that is currently done in regional areas into some of the most expensive real estate in the country.
“The expense of relocating operations activities to North Sydney will far outweigh any benefits from closing own operations facilities in cost-effective locations like Newcastle, Parramatta, Port Kembla, Mackay and Dulwich.
“Common sense has been thrown out the window - along with the futures of 200 dedicated Pacific National employees.”
Mr Claassens said the RTBU has been in discussions with Pacific National over its National Operations Centre project for several months.
“Instead of working constructively with its employees, the company has set out to create conflict and cause as much disruption for its staff as possible.
“This is undoubtedly a strategy designed to replace its unionised workforce with staff on individual common law contracts.”
Mr Claassens said employees at the National Operations Centre would be performing the same tasks as the workers being sacked.
“The pretense that the jobs in the National Operations Centre are ‘new’ does not stand up to basic scrutiny.
“These so-called ‘new’ jobs will scheduling trains and coordinate services - just like the existing employees.
“We will pursue all legal avenues to save the jobs of the existing employees.”
Mr Claassens also said that the future of Pacific National’s parent company Asciano up in the air, the project could complicate a potential sale of the Pacific National business.
“The Asciano Board now must urgently intervene and send the management of Pacific National back to the drawing board on its National Operations Centre.”